This year we decided to go with a theme for our Christmas Day dinner menu – CREOLE!  Having lived a good deal of my life in New Orleans, I am very familiar with this type of cuisine.  While our entire dinner was fabulous, there was one dish (or bread rather) that was a total hit – CRAWFISH BREAD!  Supposedly this is an all time favorite for Jazzfest. goers.  I got the recipe from GumboPages.com.  On that site you can find a multitude of traditional creole recipes.

Here’s how you make it:

  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sweet basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup warm water (120 to 130° F)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound crawfish tail meat, coarsely chopped
  • 1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese (or jalapeno pepper jack cheese for a bigger kick)
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Sesame seeds, optional

In a large mixer bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, thyme, oregano, basil, onion and garlic powders and peppers. Gradually add the warm water and oil to the dry ingredients, then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed, stopping to scrape the bowl occasionally. Beat for 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Knead dough on a floured surface until it’s smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to oil the top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in volume, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Punch the dough down. Place on a floured surface and roll into a 10×14″ rectangle. Scatter the crawfish lengthwise over the center third of the dough. Top with pimientos, green onions and shredded cheese. With a sharp knife, make cuts from the filling to the dough edges at one-inch intervals along the sides of the filling. Alternating sides, fold the strips at an angle across the filling for a braided effect.

Place on a greased baking sheet; cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, 30-45 minutes.

Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprikle with sesame seeds, if desired. Bake in a preheated 400° F oven until done and golden brown, 30-35 minutes.

YIELD: One loaf of spicy crawfish bread!

OK, say it with me:  YUMMY!!!!!!

(Um, it’s safe to say there were no Crawfish Bread leftovers!)

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